Daughtry :: No Surprise

Posted: December 5, 2012 in Songs

Daughtry :: No Surprise
Available on Amazon: MP3 | Album | CD

This is probably the song I’ve been most scared to post about. Which of course means that I have to do it sooner rather than later. While I was married, my ex frequently threatened harm against any male I talked to or even worse, admired. He’d then turn around and say he’d never hurt anyone. But the threats came so often, I was never sure which to believe. Since I would never want anything bad to happen to anyone especially on account of me, I would err on the side of caution and bow to his demands. He also refused to let me see a therapist because he was convinced he or she would convince me to leave him.

Turned out his fears were misplaced. There were many other factors of course, but in the end, it was his behavior and the clarity afforded by this song that led me down the road to divorce. As I write this, part of me is freaking out. “If he finds this, he’ll go after Daughtry.” It’s illogical and totally ridiculous in so many ways but even now, it’s still hard to break away from the conditioning. I have to remind myself that he’s not as bad as I’ve allowed myself to believe.

The first time I heard this, I was home recovering from the 2nd surgery. Things between my ex and I had deteriorated while I was in the hospital. He refused to let me take oral pain medication after they removed the IV because he feared I would become addicted to the drugs. Bear in mind I have never shown any hint of chemical addiction and am incredibly sensitive to even over the counter drugs. I hate medication. He knew that and said I was strong enough to not need it. I tried. It took about 3 hours of pain before I caved. As I took the pills, he stared at me like I was the vilest creature on earth and left the room. My poor brother had to watch me cry.

I didn’t really know what to do with myself after that. I’d been unhappy in my marriage for so long, I’d gotten used to it. But something about what happened got through to me, reminded me that maybe things weren’t supposed to be this way. Anyway, I was home, taking my slow, daily walk around the backyard, when this came on over my headphones. I’m honestly not even sure how it got there. I want to say my brother had something to do with loading my mp3 player but I don’t remember. I wasn’t even a Daughtry fan at the time. I’d just heard about him as “that rock guy on American Idol.” But there he was, crooning over his guitar, and his words brought tears to my eyes.

I practiced this for hours, gone round and round, and now I think that I got it all down
And as I say it louder, I love how it sounds, ’cause I’m not taking the easy way out
Not wrapping this in ribbons, shouldn’t have to give a reason why…

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Sometime the year before, I had practiced a speech. I had recorded it on my phone, rehearsed it a million times. I just couldn’t get it out. Even when I tried, we’d argue and debate and everything I wanted to say would get derailed. I’d all but given up. Listening to this song… I knew I had to try again.

It came out like a river once I let it out, when I thought that I wouldn’t know how
Held onto it forever just pushing it down, felt so good to let go of it now
Not wrapping this in ribbons, shouldn’t have to give a reason why…

I pictured how it would feel when I got the words out. Afraid, yes. But how much worse could it be? I was already in hell. I tried to imagine the freedom. I couldn’t get that far. So I just thought about the words. About what would happen once I finally made myself clear. How much weight would be off my shoulders. It was like a breath of fresh, clean air. I could almost taste it. Only then did I realize how much I wanted to. It wasn’t something that had to be done anymore. It was something I wanted to do. The difference was subtle but there. It gave me hope.

It’s no surprise I won’t be here tomorrow, I can’t believe that I stayed till today
There’s nothing here in this heart left to borrow, there’s nothing here in this soul left to say
Don’t be surprised when we hate this tomorrow, God know we tried to find an easier way
Yeah you and I will be a tough act to follow, but I know in time we’ll find this was no surprise

Every word was true. Even all the sappy sentiments about memories I didn’t really want to think about anymore. This wasn’t going to be easy or clean. But the potential freedom… until then I just knew I was unhappy. I wanted to get away but didn’t really think about where I was going. Then I would feel guilty for ditching my obligations because that’s the only motivation I had. It hadn’t occurred to me that there might actually be something else on the horizon. And that it was something I could try for. I just had to get through the words.

There were many other obstacles and many other reasons. This song is not the sole reason I left my marriage. As I recovered, I actually lost that clarity and started reverting to my previous zombie-like state. I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t meant to do it. This life was all there was.

But then I got tickets to see Daughtry play a short, acoustic set. I thought the chances of him playing this song were extremely low. It wasn’t acoustic. He had more popular songs to choose from. So I placed a cynical bet with myself. If Daughtry played the song, I would be separated within the year. Note, I didn’t say that I would do anything, just that however it came about- whether initiated by me or some kind of divine intervention- something would change by the end of the year.

Long story short, against all odds, he played it. And against what I thought were insurmountable odds at the time, not even a month later, I had filed for divorce and run off to Japan. Sometimes I still don’t know how it happened. Sometimes it’s all too clear. I can’t say this song made me do anything, only that it opened a door and ended up being a sign. It’s hard to listen to sometimes but it has definitely become one of the touchstones in my life.


Originally posted here.


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